rstat.us is an new open-source service that, according to its developers, sets out to clone the basic functionality of Twitter with a non-commercial and distributed system. According to rstat.us Lead Developer, Steve Klabnik, the service will be:
- 100% open source–anyone can use the software to create their own micro-blogging network, and
- Distributed: status updates sent through rstat.us can be sent to any other service you connect
What does this mean for business users of social media? Until the service starts to attract a significant number of users, not much in terms of reach. The real issue we’re watching: is this just the tip of the iceberg? Will users rebel against the idea that one or two major sites control their social experience and personal profile data? And will that create an opportunity for a service like rstat.us to successfully challenge the established players?
rstat.us was born out of the developer community’s frustration with Twitter’s latest round of changes to the “rules of the road” for its API. (The API is how third-party apps — TweetDeck, CoTweet, Hashabale, etc. — consume and create Twitter content.) Twitter’s most recent API Terms of Service changes were certainly more restrictive, and some developers felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under them.
According to Steve Klabnik, who announced the rstat.us service last Thursday:
“If you didn’t hear, a week ago Friday Twitter changed their terms of service. This got a lot of people upset, including me. My friends and I started thinking about it, and the real problem is this: any software that’s owned by one entity, corporate or not, is open to the possibility of being abused.”
In a conversation over the weekend, Klabnik pointed out that the new rules encompassed an “intentional change” from an essentially open, creative system to one that tries to control what developers — and end users — do with it.
As of Sunday afternoon rstat.us had 3,607 users. It’s still in alpha, but definitely worth a try. You can even sign up with your Twitter account.